Monday, February 18, 2013

Race Recap: TinkerBell HM 2013, Part 2: Race Day & Beyond

So...where did I leave off...oh yes, we're moving into race day.
Second part of a two part post. See Part 1 here.

Race Day (Sunday, January 20, 2013)

Minnie themed race outfit.
The day started much as any race day would...except with four women in a room! lol! Woke up early, showered, dressed and made sure everything I needed was in my gear check bag. We made our way over to the corrals I think a little after 4:30am. Settled everything that we needed to like checking our bags, last minute nature breaks, etc. then headed to our assigned corrals. We made our way into the corrals and looked for others that we knew. Then came the waiting. I wasn't quite as excited as last year, but still the energy was there. I ended up moving a little further away from the group since I decided that I would just go my own pace rather than stay with a pacer. I think it's just because I've done so many of my races alone that it's just instinct for me now to do my own thing. As the start drew near I made sure my music was on and that I was as warmed up as I was ever going to get. Finally our corral was moved to the starting line and then...GO!!

I tried to start out slow, but the energy caught up with me and I was going at a faster pace than I should have. The first 5K or so wasn't bad as we ran through the parks first off compared to finishing in the parks last year. I was feeling pretty good but early at some point the "plague" of runners hit me...not bad, but bad enough to cause me several stops in the ladies room before we even left the parks. Thankfully, things seemed to settle down a bit although I did notice that my footing wasn't very sure and I stumbled several times luckily being able to catch myself on a fence or wall without going down to the ground. I just ignored it and kept going doing my run/walk/run, standing totally upright and smiling (or trying to) for the photographers on the course.

Proofs I used to demonstrate to doc the nearly
7-10° lean that eventually developed.
 First pic early in the race and totally upright;
2nd pic towards finish trying to remind myself to stand upright (FAIL)
and finally coming across the finish at full lean.
As I neared the 10K mark, I noticed that my upper body was leaning to the left. Not a muscular based leaning was just I could not stand up straight to save my life! By the time I actually hit the 10K mark I couldn't stand upright at all without really working on doing so. I also noticed a slight headache that came and went plus more stumbling. The panic started to set in...was I having a TIA (more commonly referred to as a mini-stroke)?? I texted to the group I was with at the start to see where they were because at this point I had become afraid to complete the race by myself. As luck would have it, they weren't too far behind me so I waited until they reached me. By that time I was near, if not in, tears from the sheer anxiety...but still I refused to stop. One of my Tink friends, Kat, stopped her race to walk the remainder of the race with me to make sure nothing happened and so that I'd have a safety net. For the next approximately 6.5 miles she encouraged me, listened to my panic and fears, whining and tears! It was slow going and she made sure I was aware of any changes in the road so that I wouldn't stumble/trip over them.

As we passed medical tents and photographers I did my best to stand up straight and used my left hand to remind me to try to get upright. By the last few miles of the race I had pretty much given up on doing just wasn't working. Once we crossed the finish and got our medals Kat ushered me into the medical tent where they started a neurological evaluation and eventually transported me to a nearby emergency room. Thanks to Kat she was able to get my gear bag and get it to my roomies who had long since finished the race.

My hardest earned medal so far,
harder even than Spartan Sprint!
Not even a picture of my own finisher pic this year.
As a nurse you'd think I could take this medical situation in stride. I was able to give a summary of what had happened and then I totally lost it. How stupid I felt.  Twenty two plus years as a nurse...I shouldn't be panicking like this! They finally got me to the ER by ambulance where I stayed for nearly 6 hours. They did a CT scan without IV contrast, a slew of labs, repeated neuro evaluations with the continued mild, intermittent headache, slightly blurred vision during these headaches and an ever so slight continuing leaning of my upper body even when laying back on the gurney.

After nearly 6 hours the labs and CT had all come back clean. The ER doc wanted to be admitted for 1-2 days for observation, but being the obstinant nurse/person that I am I signed out AMA (against medical advice) to arrange a flight home the next day instead of flying home on Tuesday. Partly because I didn't want to be hospitalized away from home, secondly because the cost of hospitalization even with TriCare benefits would have wiped us out!! No joke!!

By the time I got back to the room around 5pm or 6pm I ordered a pizza (hadn't eaten since 3:30am) and packed everything up. I also got on the phone and was able to arrange an early flight home the next morning. I think I actually only ate 2 pieces of the pizza once it arrived and I was probably asleep by 9pm.

Race Day +1

I awoke really early at around 4am to get ready to head out. It's still kind of a blur. I think I showered but I know I went to turn my key in and make sure all the costs were taken care of only to find that the desk clerk I had called the night before to let her know that we would be leaving a day early had actually checked us out the night before. Really not what I needed that early in the morning especially the way I was emotionally. After finally getting that straightened out, I waited for the Disneyland Resort Express to pick me up and take me to LAX.

I wasn't having any real issues other than being extremely fatigued with the occasional short, mild headache and accompanying blurred vision. Because of this I didn't trust myself walking around the terminal so I had arranged for a wheelchair at each stop. I felt a little stupid doing that but I just felt that it would be better to be safe than sorry.

The trip home was uneventful, but I did worry about the 1 1/2+ hour drive home. Luckily everything went smoothly and after I arrived home I pretty much walked up to my husband and began crying uncontrollably. I was so tired the next couple of days that I didn't finally make copies of my hospital paperwork to drop off at the VA clinic until Thursday or Friday after I got home. Luckily by then some of the proofs for the race pics were already online and I was able to include some of those to demonstrate the physical appearance of symptoms during the race.

The Aftermath

It's taken weeks to get a doctor's appointment which I finally had last Friday. I was cleared to begin running/exercising again (something that I had pretty much put a stop to myself with the exception of Spartan Sprint). I also have an MRI of the brain and lumbar spine scheduled tomorrow morning. So I'm only partially out of the woods right now. In talking with the doc there's a possibility of a labrynthitis (improper functioning of the balance mechanism in the ear)/Meinier's Disease probably the most viable diagnosis to be ruled out, an actual TIA, a mass or a multitude of other things. I probably won't know the final result of the MRI until Friday at which time I'll already be in Florida for the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. So as far as I'm concerned I'm finishing the Princess may be walking most if not all of it, but I will finish. And this time around I'm hitting as many of the parks as I can as well!!

So, until I find out the results of the MRIs and any limitations that they may place on me I consider myself somewhat ready to go and do what I need to do for my second Coast to Coast medal and 4th race of the year! :D  I will update the blog once I know the final results of the MRIs! :)

What I liked about this race:
The fact that I actually finished for one, but even more grateful for running friends like Kat who expressed concern, caring and encouragement during and after the race (there were several of you out there on the course asking if I was OK...I don't remember who you were but I'm thankful for your support) and in the days that have followed. I have a wonderful group of online running friends!! :D

What I did not like about this race:
The fact that this medical issue even happened. There was no just happened. I hate the fact that I slowed Kat down, even though I know she didn't mind. I tried to get her to leave me behind, but she wouldn't! Big, huge hugs Kat!! I hate the fact that it took nearly 4 hours to finish!! OMG!! But other than was a great time before all the medical stuff started happening. I wouldn't change a thing.

Would I do this race again?
Hello?? Can you say 5 year legacy runner?!?! LOL!! I would have stopped if I didn't plan to do it again!! ;) So, as far as I'm concerned I'm in for 2014, 2015 and 2016!!

Official Time: 3:53:16
Gender: 10370/10553
Age Group: 960/985
Overall: 11729/11937

So much for being middle of the pack last year!! LOL!!

Race Recap: TinkerBell HM 2013, Part 1 : Pre-race

2nd Annual TinkerBell Half Marathon (AKA my worst race...ever)
Race Day: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Location: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, CA

So, this was supposed to be a benchmark in my running "career." This was the second running of the TinkerBell Half Marathon and my second step towards achieving "Legacy" status (running in each of the first 5 years of a race) in a Disney race. Let's just say that it didn't go according to plan...

Race Day -3 (Thursday, January 17, 2013)

This was a travel day for me. Since I had organized our TinkerBell Half Marathon Facebook Group meetup, I was traveling with 2 suitcases for the first time for any race (thank you for the free bags Southwest Airlines). Unfortunately, they were two different types of bags which made handling them a little difficult. One was a softsided 360° spinning bag and an old hard shelled suitcase that was the only thing that I could fit the sign that I had ordered for the meetup into so that it wouldn't get damaged. Along with that I was carrying 150 button name tags that would be passed out to members of the group.

My flight out wasn't until 2:50pm CST and I made sure that there was no repeat of my travel woes that happened for the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. I left plenty early to allow for the lost hour for the time change into Texas. In fact, I arrived almost 3 hours early for my flight giving me enough time to pick up some last minute items and a sandwich before entering the airport. Most of my time waiting was spent on the laptop either playing on Facebook/Twitter or watching my Pitch Perfect DVD...yes, even when traveling I have to get my fix of this movie at least once a day! lol! The flight out of Amarillo and into Las Vegas was late but uneventful and it still blows my mind that McCarran International Airport has a severe lack of outlets/computer charging stations in this day and age. I mean, really?? After a short layover we boarded the short 45 minute flight into LAX. There really wasn't a whole lot of time to do anything on this flight so I just listened to my music and tried to nap with a 6 year old (or so) talking at the top of his voice sitting in the row in back of me.

My flight landed a little early and I had hoped to catch a 6pm Disney Resort Express shuttle to the hotel, but found out that it wouldn't be making it's next pass through the airport until 6:30pm. Thankfully it was warm outside with only the slightest of breezes, much different from the windy, 30-40° back home in New Mexico, so I just sat on my suitcase and waited outside while playing on my tablet and listening to music. Once I finally arrived at the hotel, I met one of my room mates, Jessica, who was a total stranger other than our interactions on the Facebook group. A couple of hours later my running buddy from the inaugural TinkerBell HM, Melanie, and her friend, Noreen, arrived to round out our group of four. Now, considering that the last time I had shared a room with 3 other chicks was when I was a young teenager I knew that this would be an interesting event with 4 grown women sharing a single room. lol!

This was a night to stay in because the race expo would be in the morning and I'd need to be there early to help work the SparkleSkirts booth through the morning and into the early afternoon. So, after chatting and catching up on things we all turned in at around 11pm in preparation for the next day.

Race Day -2 (Friday, January 18, 2013)

My earnings/purchases and official race shirt from the Expo minus
the ear buds and mini Minnie ears/barrettes thatI lost on race day.
Pic taken about a month late...whoops! lol!
Melanie was up bright and early in order to go attend the runDisney Galloway Meetup, she had been lucky enough to get her name on the RSVP list that literally closed within minutes, if not seconds, after opening. In fact, she had to change her travel plans and leave a day early because she had originally planned to arrive on Friday rather than Thursday but this meetup was an opportunity that she couldn't miss. I was already up and just procrastinating on getting ready. Once I finally did get up and out of bed, I got dressed and prepared to walk over to the Disneyland Hotel with Noreen (a first time Disneyland/Disney California Adventures visitor) so that she could eventually meet up with Melanie. Jessica did the right thing and headed to the gym when we all went our separate ways.

After I got Noreen to the Disneyland Hotel, I headed down to the expo to start work at the booth. Now, I try to volunteer for the SparkleSkirts booth whenever I can just because I believe in their product so much and this was the second time I would work with them, the first time being at the WDW Wine & Dine HM. I truly love Leah and Tom and have purchased their tech skorts and medal hangers several times. I always have fun working with the customers and trying to eventually get someone to convert to the brand.

My first time back on the Tower of Terror in
probably a decade?? Last time was at WDW.
While I was working, Jessica was kind enough to pick up my race packet for me and drop it off so that I could walk around the expo after my shift without having to wait in the pick up line. The girls stopped by the booth for a bit with Melanie making an unplanned purchase and we eventually met back in the room and headed over to the parks for an evening of rides. We really didn't get on too many rides...a couple of turns on the Tower of Terror, plus Buzz Lightyear, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise and we had FastPasses to Space Mountain but it had broken down before we got a chance to get on. :( All in all we were probably in the park for 3-4 hours tops before heading back to the room with a stop at Denny's for a late dinner. Since Jessica had to be up early the next morning for the Neverland Family 5K and I had another morning shift at the SparkleSkirts booth, we both turned in fairly soon after arriving back in the room so that we could get an early start.

Race Day -1 (Saturday, January 19, 2013)

This day started out just like any other. I knew it was going to be busy since I was going to be working the booth, then managing the group meetup to be followed by the group pre-race dinner. Unfortunately this meant no trip into the parks for me on this day since the race was scheduled to start bright and early at 5am on Sunday morning. I realized early that I had been scheduled to start work at 9:45am but that the expo was scheduled to open at 9am so I decided to head over early just to see if they needed help sooner rather than later only to find that the expo had opened at 8am for a special group of people so it was serendipity that I showed up early.

In the afternoon, the next set of volunteers showed up and noticing that there was an hour overlap with 6 volunteers in a small booth, I opted to leave early so that I could get things ready for the group meetup. After resting up for about an hour I packed up the buttons/name tags, my label printer and the sign and headed over to the meetup location in front of Apricot Lane at Downtown Disney. Members of the group started to trickle in starting at about 3:45pm and by about 4:15pm I was catching up on name tags that I had missed making, started to introduce each other (the main goal of the meetup is to put faces to the names that we see on Facebook) and prepare for the group picture. This is the second of what will hopefully be an annual meetup although for me the 5 year legacy mark will likely be my final Tink HM. We all hung out for as long as we could with many of the original crew staying the longest catching up with each other. Then I was off again just after 5pm to bring back my bag of stuff to the hotel so that I wouldn't have to drag it around to dinner.

Our pre-race dinner race participants!
Our group dinner was held at Naples Ristorante in Downtown Disney at 6pm. In all there were 21 of us with about 11 being actual participants in the race the next day. This was a good mix of new Tink runners and original crew. We had a great dinner with great service and I think I would be speaking for all of us in that this is a great place to eat and would come with some very good recommendations from us. At about 8:30pm we said our goodbyes and headed out to prep for the race early the next morning. It had been a long but great day being able to meet new members of the group and catching up with some year long friendships that have continued courtesy of Facebook.

To be continued...and will include my medical issues that cropped up during the race and the aftermath.

When You Wish Upon a Star...

Long Title:
My first real attempt at getting into the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Meetup and Warm Up Run with Jeff Galloway

Well. That was fun. "What was that?" you ask?

Since last Wednesday (minus the 2 day weekend) I, and many others like me, have been poised at our computers/laptops/tables/phones in hopes of being one of the lucky few to get invited to attend the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Meetup & Warm Up Run with Jeff Galloway and other celebs. This year in addition to Jeff, runDisney's official dietician Tara Gidus, actor Sean Astin, The Biggest Loser's Ali Vincent, defending Princess HM and back to back Disneyland Half winner Rachel Booth and two time Paralympic track and field medalist April Holmes will be appearing at the meetup.

Now, I have never gotten into one of these events. They're pretty hard to get into and usually fill very quickly. Everything I've read or been told by past attendees makes them out to be an awesome experience. I mean really, how many times do you actually get to go for a run with a former Olympian? I've only tried to get my name into the 2013 Tinkerbell Half Marathon meetup and it was only a half hearted attempt. I did most of the things that you need to do to enter, but I just wasn't quick enough on the draw. This time I was ready! Now, while I really want to get in, it's not a do or die thing for me. It's more about the chase of friendly competition with others to get your name in before the window of opportunity closes. That doesn't mean that I'm going to not offer info on how the process works, but I'll invite others that are interested and share what knowledge I do have of the process.

The process for this year's Princess Half (PHM) meetup was different. Yes, we did the required wait...referred to the #refreshwaitrepeat on Twitter...but glitches occurred on Friday when the announcement was supposed to be made sending the process into an unprecedented fourth day (on Monday)! Yes, I was one of those people stuck to the screen for 4 days...well, actually from about 6am MST to anywhere between 1:10pm and 4:00pm on Wed thru Friday...then rudely getting awakened on Monday by a tweet notifying me of the announcing blog post at 5:35am MST at which time once I managed to gather my wits about me I went flying into the back room to my more reliable desktop to send in my email requesting inclusion in the event. I hurdled 3 dogs and when I slid into the rolling office chair I actually rolled away from the computer. My nerves were shot, I was shaking from the adrenaline surge and could barely type some updates onto a Facebook group that I belong to or into my own Facebook/Twitter feeds. It was only after I did manage to send my email and get my status updated that I found out that the actual blog post had been put up around 1:30am EST!! Whoaa!! That pretty much killed my chances then and there...if only I had refreshed the blog before I finally went to sleep at around 2am MST!! LOL!! :D

Such an early announcement has never been made and I don't expect many west coast hopefuls to be very happy as I know I wouldn't be. But it's a game and sometimes you win but most times you lose. There are plenty of people who never even get a chance to get their names in the hat even though they may have been working the process as was the case for me during the TinkerBell meetup process.

So, the waiting game begins. Emails should be sent out to those invited by 4pm EST today with a link to a final list posted by 5pm on the Disney Parks blog. So I'm watching the ticker on my email account and will be checking every new email that comes in in hopes of being one of the lucky few...but if not I have at least 5 more runDisney to try to get into the meetup so no real loss on my part aside from my time and a little sanity.

Because of the "villians" (as runDisney put it) messing with the system, I wouldn't be surprised if changes happened to the process...but for now here are some tips that I've learned in the two times that I've attempted. These tips are subject to be incorrect at anytime...especially with the difficulties encountered with the PHM process so I really expect some major changes in the future!

  • Download an auto refresh extension for whatever browser you use.
  • Open a window for the Disney Parks Blog.
  • Set your auto refresh to whatever timing you want...recommend 5-10 seconds. The blog is the first place they'll announce that the process is open.
  • Open and monitor the @runDisney Twitter account...usually about a 5 second delay from the blog post.
  • Set up your phone or other devices to receive SMS texts from @runDisney by texting "FOLLOW @runDisney" to 40404.
  • Prepare an email that includes your full name to be sent to one of the following addresses (always double check in the blog post in case they change) depending on which park the race is at:
  • Have the email open and ready to just click "Send" at a moments notice.
    • NOTE: You can only send a single email from a single address...if they see more than one email addy for the same person it automatically disqualifies you.
  • Once you see the announcement, you usually have literally seconds to send in the email because they fill up so fast (this was NOT the case with PHM).
Then the wait begins!! They will email you if you get in within a few hours (it's only been an hour or so since the PHM meetup process closed and emails are already going out).

NOTICE: Just to make it perfectly clear...this list is totally of my own work/original, not copied from any source. It includes information gleaned from online discussion in Facebook or Twitter, the Disney Parks Blog and from observing previous meetup processes as they occurred. I, in no way, copied or designed in any plagaristic manner from any files from any groups or websites.
Just FYI:
  • Earliest day of announcement: Tuesday
  • Earliest time of blog post: ~1:30am EST (I was for this PHM)
  • Latest day of announcement: Monday (for this PHM...but typically on Fridays)
  • Latest time of blog post: ~3:30pm ET
  • Usual window for announcement: ~10am-1pm ET
The one thing I want folks to remember out of participating in this kind of endeavor is that it is just a game! Don't take it too seriously!! Sometimes you win, most times you lose...there's almost always a next time.

Good luck to all the Princesses that got their names into the mix!

UPDATE @ 8:43am MST: The final list of 50 attendees is already posted on the Disney Parks Blog less than 2 hours after closing the process! Congrats to all that made it in...unfortunately I wasn't one of them. There's plenty more runDisney races to try again!! :D

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Race Recap: Spartan Sprint - Arizona

    Race Day: Saturday, February 9, 2013
    Location: McDowell Mt. Regional Park, Ft. McDowell, AZ (Venue change)

    Race Day -1 (Friday, Feb 8, 2013)

    I've driven to Arizona on my own and with the old man several times, but this time was the first time I've driven for a race. And it wasn't just for any race...this was Spartan Sprint my first obstacle course since USAF basic training some 30 odd years ago! My nerves were already on edge wondering why the hell I actually chose to do this on my coercing from anyone. If anything, I coerced my team mates to do it with me! lol! So I picked up my friend, Jeff who I met at the YMCA a little over a year ago and who is less than half my age, to make what I had thought would be an 11-12 hour drive to Phoenix. Instead we made it in about 10 hours through the hellacious wind of eastern Arizona along I-40, the beautiful melting snow and mountains of northeastern Arizona and the beautiful desert of the Phoenix area. I simply love Phoenix and wouldn't mind living here if it wasn't for the blasted guaranteed triple digits in the summer! Some 20+ years ago we could've been assigned to Luke AFB here, but it never came to pass and we ended up in New Mexico instead...just not the same. The trip went smoothly with just a couple of stops for breakfast and gassing up. Jeff had pulled one of those "young people" all nighters...I do the "old people" version, lol! So he slept almost the whole trip.

    Clear roads in the Arizona mountains.
    What a view! What are those green things?
    And those tall things in the background?
    We arrived in Phoenix at about 4:30pm, checked into the hotel and since we hadn't had lunch I promptly took him to Ono Hawaiian BBQ for a mini of my must do places to eat anywhere...any kind of Hawaiian BBQ joint. We then headed over to my son's place (the only reason I'd drive 10 hours for a short, supposedly 5K visit family/friends) sat around for a bit and then headed to dinner at Buca de Beppo's within 2 hours of having our last meal.

    After a meal of lasagna and baked rigattoni we indulged in a super sized hot fudge brownie sundae...3 scoops of chocolate, 3 scoops of vanilla, 12 brownie pieces, hot fudge and plenty of whipped cream and sprinkles. Yum!! Out of the five of us eating 4 of us had lactose intolerance issues so it was a good thing that I had plenty of generic Lactaid in my purse! It would not have been pretty otherwise, lol!

    I was forced to participate in the infamous phone stack. :(

    Really, we ALL shared this...
    Way too full after dinner!
    To kill time and not rest before what was sure to be a grueling race the next day we headed over to Dave & Busters at Tempe Marketplace. This was a first time venture for myself, Noemi and Jeff. I felt like I was back in junior high/high school hanging out at the local video arcade or with my kids at Chuck E. Cheese's. We played for about 1-2 hours and instead of keeping the tickets from the games I gave them to Jeff as did Noemi. It's been so long since I've played any video games (I think the last console we had at home was an old Nintendo that actually belonged to the son) in over a decade...if not two. It was really fun to get back into that frame of mind and not have any worries for a few minutes.

    Happy winner!
    End of the night...
    I think we finally called it a night about midnight and headed out to drop everyone off at the apartment to make final plans for the next day and finally Jeff and I headed back to the hotel to crash for the night.

    Race Day

    I didn't sleep well as usual getting only about 3-4 hours of sleep waking up at around 4:30 am. I did my usual hotel routine when I have a roomie of playing on the computer/phone/tablet and watching Pitch Perfect until it was a decent time to start getting ready. I did take off for a few to head to Target to look for some energy snacks for the race and maybe a small backpack or waist pack to carry some stuff during the race. That plan pretty much fell through but I did manage to get a couple of packs of Shotz Bloks and a quart of chocolate milk for my post race drink.

    My race gear.
    By the time I got back to the hotel it was time to start getting ready so that we could go grab some breakfast before heading out to the race. Just about the time I had finished getting dressed the son called and recommended just eating locally instead of going out for dim sum since the race venue had been changed to a location north of Pheonix instead of in Chandler. We ended up at a little sandwich shop not too far from the apartment and then headed out to the race around noon-ish.

    The weather wasn't all that great...and it only got worse. It was cold, windy, overcast and just blah. The line to get on the shuttle didn't take too long (parking was a few miles away from the venue) and it was kind of surreal watching all the people who had already finished in various states of wet, muddiness. Some looked like they had even barely gotten wet or muddy while others were just totally
    drenched/filthy. By the time we got checked in, numbers marked on our bodies and gear turned in we had about 20 minutes to kill before our heat started. We did some weak attempts at warming up, I was acting like an idiot trying to get the others hyped up but mostly we were just freezing our butts off.

    Cold, windy and totally oblivious to what's in store!

    When we did finally take off the guys basically left Noemi and I in the dust. So we just hung together and walked/jogged until we started hitting the obstacles. Now, I'm not going to do a play by play of the obstacles so here's a quick breakdown of what I can remember:

    • Upright walls x3 ...5-6' high
    • Monkey (too far apart for my short arms, instead carried each other across touching each rung as we went) no burpees for punishement
    • Upright walls...8' high used "cheater" steps (2 tiny 2x4 strips) and worked as a team to get over by giving a hand/shoulder to step on and a push on the backside
    • Weight carry ~15-20# for females + 5 burpees and carry weight back to starting pt
    • Crawl under barbed wire fences x 2 or 3
    • Rock drag...up hill and back down
    • Wall bouldering going sideways...worked as a team to support each other so we wouldn't fall
    • Sandbag carry...up/down hill
    • Javelin (severe rt calf cramping...ended up on ground in pain had to stretch for about 5 minutes and kept going still cramping) = 30 punishment burpees
    • Rope climb ~20' w/ water pit = 30 punishment burpees
    • Barb wire mud crawl ~100-150' FAVORITE OBSTACLE!! Lost bib, went back to find it!
    • Mud hills/pits x 5 - Slid down the mud hills on my rear...fastest way down
    • Rope net climb up and over
    • Angled wall/rope climb (3rd favorite)
    • Fire pit jump

    Numerous steep uphill and downhill climbs, single track trail/washouts primarily and plenty of cacti...just seriously hardcore! I'm not a trail runner so I ended up walking most of the race which was just fine with me. All I wanted to do was finish with minimal injuries and get the bling!

    The aftermath!
    Jeff came in first on the team in something like 1:21, Darryl was at 2:05 or so, Noemi at 2:23 or so and I came in at 2:39.01 which actually included me walking up and down the length of the barb wire crawl looking for my lost bib for about 10 minutes. Most of us weren't fast, but we all a standing position even!

    Finisher's medal and my bibs...
    We hung around a little bit to take pictures and grab gear but for the most part we just headed back to the shuttles to get back to a warm heater in the car. A quick stop at In-n-Out to pick up some burgers for lunch and then we dropped the others off at the apartment while Jeff and I went back to the hotel to get cleaned up. We were supposed to get together again in the evening to head out to City Center to go to the Mardi Gras Festival, but by the time I was cleaned up I was way too tired to do anything else. I arranged for Jeff to hang out with the others while I played the old fogie roll and stayed at the hotel to wash the race gear and go to sleep early. I was so tired that I didn't even have the energy to eat the burger that we had brought for lunch and just barely managed to stay awake to run the gear through the wash cycle a couple of times and through the dryer. In order to stay awake during that time I relied on watching Pitch Perfect (go figure) and starting this write up while conversing on Facebook and Twitter. I'm pretty sure that as soon as my head finally hit the pillow I was out like a light. I don't even remember when Jeff got back to the room and I'm usually a very light sleeper...Yup, I guess I was freakin' tired! lol!

    Race Day +1

    Well, the original plan had been to be on the road home by about 8am but even though I woke up at 6am I was just not in the mood to be driving that early because I was so sore. Instead we had homemade Eggs Benedict that my son made at about 10am and then we headed out to C-Fu Gourmet to pick up some dim sum to celebrate Chinese New Year when I got home (hubs and I love dim sum and we can't get any decent dim sum here in New Mexico). After waiting close to an hour for the food (the place was packed because of it being Chinese New Year) we were finally on our way back home.

    Offering for Year of the Snake
    Not quite San Francisco Chinatown, but close enough for now.
    As we hit the mountains there was a pretty significant amount of snow that hadn't been there on the drive in. The higher the more heavy the snowfall got. We finally hit Heber -Odegaard where the snow almost stopped and the drive became pretty easy again. Just before the AZ-NM border the weather changed and there was a point around Gallup that I really thought that we'd have to pull over and hunker down for the night because the snow was starting to come down pretty heavy. Luckily, after about 75 miles the snow cleared up and it was smooth sailing again.

    Um, yeah...there was very little snow here on the trip up to Phoenix.
    Snow on I-40 west of Gallup...and this wasn't the worst of it!
    We stopped for dinner and gas in Albuqerque originally planning to eat at a Japanese place on Central Ave that I had been to once, but they were close so we ended up at Fuddrucker's instead. A quick stop in a book store and to gas up and we were back on the road or the last leg of the trip home. A little over 3 hours later we arrived back in town just before midnight and the quick and somewhat painful weekend trip was over. Goal of completing Spartan Sprint accomplished, new bling, plans to move up the Spartan Race ladder to the next level...Super Spartan, an 8+ mile mud/obstacle course, is now in the planning. A weekend of good food, fun, new/old friends and family and a bunch of  "firsts" for Jeff (Spartan race, trip to Pheonix, In-n-Out meal, etc.)...all in all it was a resounding success.

    What did I like about this race?
    The main thing is that this race was a serious challenge. The last time I even did anything resembling it was the obstacle course in USAF basic training which was only 1.5 miles long and actually quite easy. This race really put me up against a wall to see how well I could push myself to reach the goal I wanted. I succeeded so it's all good.

    What did I not like about this race?
    I am not a fan of trail running, in fact I hate it. So I trail walked/hiked instead for most of the race. If only it could be a nicely packed wide trail without the loose rocks, steep hills and such I probably would have been a very happy camper! lol.

    Would I do this race again?
    Ummmm...YES!! In fact, I just signed the husband and I up for the 2014 race this afternoon, so I definitely WILL be doing it again! The big difference will be that I will train for it next time! lol.